Helping improve PNG’s literacy rate

Oil Search has committed its support to building two more libraries to support the Buk Bilong Pikinini (BbP) program in the country.

The company, through its Oil Search Foundation (OSF), will work with the BbP to deliver a second library in Hela Province, having assisted in the development of a first one, and a new library in Kikori, Gulf Province.

The initiative will see library books brought right down to the grassroots level to improve literacy rates.

Speaking at the 10th anniversary of BbP in Port Moresby, Oil Search Managing Director and OSF Chairman, Peter Botten, said: “The library has been so successful that we are planning to open a second one in Hela Province and a third in Kikori, Gulf Province, where literary rates are some of the lowest in the country.

“I heard first hand from speaking with mothers and fathers at the opening of our Tari library how important it is for their children to have an early opportunity to learn to read.”

Botten said the single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books prior to beginning school.

“Early literacy is also linked with retention in school, higher graduation rates and enhanced productivity in adult life. And increased literacy is essential to improving health outcomes and providing women with the tools to improve their lives and those of their families,” he said.

“We feel privileged to work with Buk Bilong Pikinini for these reasons. We look forward to a long and productive partnership that will change the lives of individuals and communities through a love of books and reading.”

Botten said Oil Search and OSF take very seriously their efforts to support economic and social development in the country, not only because that is the right thing to do as a company working here, but also because it makes business sense.

“We provide support in a range of ways – through tax credit projects, corporate sponsorships, our community affairs projects and through Oil Search Foundation,” he said.

“Last year, Oil Search announced a PGK185 million donation to the Foundation over 5 years to support projects in health, leadership and education and women’s empowerment and protection,” said Botten.

Cedric Patjole